Lehigh Valley LGBTQ community calls for passage of Equality Act

Written by on March 1, 2021

Lehigh Valley LGBTQ community calls for passage of Equality Act

By Ben Stemrich

March 1, 2021

FILE – In this Oct. 8, 2019 file photo, protesters gather outside the Supreme Court in Washington where the Supreme Court is hearing arguments in the first case of LGBT rights since the retirement of Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy. As vice president in 2012, Joe Biden endeared himself to many LGBTQ Americans by endorsing same-sex marriage even before his boss, President Barack Obama. Now, as president-elect, Biden is making sweeping promises to LGBTQ activists, proposing to carry out virtually every major proposal on their wish lists. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

Lehigh Valley congresswoman Susan Wild and other members of the U.S. House of Representatives voted to pass the Equality Act last week. It would provide protections in labor and civil rights. 

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Just over 4% of adult Pennsylvanians identify as LGBTQ according to the advocacy group Movement Advancement Project. Although the Commonwealth does recognize discrimination against LGBTQ people as gender or sex discrimination, there is no federal law. 

Adrian Shanker of Bradbury Sullivan LGBT Community Center in Allentown says soon that could all change. 

“More than 80% of Americans, more than 60% of Republicans support the Equality Act. Now this is heading to the Senate and it’s essential that the Senate passed the Equality Act with bi partisan support,” said Shanker. 

If turned into law, the Equality Act would solidify LGBTQ protections in the nation’s labor and civil rights laws.

 “We currently exist with a patchwork of civil rights laws where a person’s zip code determines their access to recourse if they are discriminated against. Progress is progress but a patchwork of civil rights laws does not create equity for all.”

Some republican lawmakers like Senator Collins of Maine say they won’t co-sponsor the bill in its current form.

It’s expected a majority democratic senators will support it. 

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